Monday, April 29, 2013

Personalized Jessica iphone4 cover

Because I am always losing my cell phone in the depths of my purse, and the baby likes to drop things on purpose, I decided to order a special cover from an adorable vendor on Etsy, CreateItYourWay.

Because I was slightly sleep-deprived from 3 sick children, I ordered a cover for the wrong type of phone!

personalized iphone cover with chevrons and name

Thankfully, I got a discount on the new (correct) order when I sent a bashful email to the seller explaining my mistake. My new cover is on the left, the too small one on the right.

So.... now I have a "Jessica" cover for an iphone4. The first person who wants it, can have it. I'm happy to mail it anywhere in the U.S. As is, it's just mocking me on my kitchen counter:)

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Party Inspiration: Red, Pink and Grey

A sweet friend asked me to help her with the decor for her daughter's upcoming bat mitzvah luncheon and being the Pinterest addict that I am, I happily agreed!

She has a vision for red, pink and grey, something inexpensive, but impactful. No one wants their "fancy" friends or relatives to think you just bought a lot of schlock to fill the space, it needs to feel intentional.

These are my main ideas, hope to share "after" pics in June!

I'm totally in love with these giant balloons. So pretty and bold and modern.

Who doesn't love, love, love paper straws? They make anything seem special.

And that anything drink should be rosemary lemonade. Or even a lemonade "station" with different flavored ice cubes, peach, strawberry, mint, rosemary etc.

I love the look of a beautiful dessert table, plus the baby's breath is so sweet and appropriate for a 13 year old girl:)

Or a donut hole tower. Because, seriously? How can this go wrong?

All of these were from my Celebrations board on Pinterest. Head over to follow all of my Pinterest boards, I'd love to share my inspirations (or pinspirations) with you!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Letting Kids Paint Their Own Pottery (a continuation on my journey of letting go)

Remember a few weeks back when I shared my attempt to let go and just allow my kids, mostly my baby, to develop at her own pace?

Wel, I might have harbored a secret hope that once I blogged about it, she would instantly start walking, just to show me.

That did not happen.

So I'm back sharing my take on crafting and kids.

First- They are KIDS. Let them just do it for Peet's sake! Oh so often I see moms trying to "fix" their kids craft projects, spruce up their art, just make tiny adjustments to make it look better. Let it be. Let them color outside the lines, choose their own paint colors, glue something to the table.

This is an area where I think I excel.

About a month ago we did paint your own pottery, and I shared a 3-piece bowl with my 3 year old, and let my daughter do a bowl of her own. Then she made a penguin, I made another bowl, and my son made a mug, which is not pictured because it has turned into his "morning milk" mug at the breakfast table.

Notice how her bowl and mine are almost the same? Totally not on purpose, and I think hers (with purple on the outside) might even be better:)

I let my son do the insides of the 3-piece bowl and I tried to Kate Spade it up with the polka dots on the outside. 

I love these things. It captures my kids' skills at a moment in time (and my skills as well!), and it just wouldn't be the same if I doctored them all up to make them perfect.

What do you think? Should we "help" our kids create more aesthetically pleasing crafts?


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Monday, April 22, 2013

Chia Pudding

As I mentioned in my post on poached pears, I am trying to be healthier this spring, so I was looking for a quick and easy dessert that also had plenty of protein in it.

Enter Chia Pudding!

The chia seed is making a huge fuss on all the store shelves and in magazines and heatlh literature. Mayeb it's the new power food. It's the secret from the Amazon tribes. Pretty much it's having it's heyday right now so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Plus, who doesn't love a gluten-free, dairy-free dessert? (Usually me, but I'm branching out!)

Chia Pudding:

1/2 cup Chia seeds
1-2* cups milk (regular, or coconut, it works with either one)
zest of 1 clementine (or other citrus, to give it a little depth)
optional: 1 tablespoon of sweetener (sugar, honey, etc.)

* For some unknown reason my Trader Joe's chia seeds like a 1:2 ratio of seeds to liquid, but most online recipes call for 1:4, go figure!

Ingredients for Chia Seed Pudding

Mix all ingredients together in a covered container and refrigerate for 10-12 hours or overnight.

How to make Clementine Chia Pudding


I garnished mine with some clementine slices to punch it up a little. My kids loved this, and you dont' have to tell them it's healthy, just that it's a new dessert you are trying!

chia seed pudding, so easy and only 3 ingredients


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Friday, April 19, 2013

Homemade Chopped Liver

For some reason chopped liver gets a bad rap, but it's one of my husband's favorite foods, and I love it too.

If you are a bit squeamish, you might not want to keep scrolling down, since the image of chicken livers isn't necessarily calming for your tummy:)

I use my mother in law's recipe (she of the fluffy matzoh ball fame).

Chopped Liver:

1 pound chicken livers (I got them at the butcher, but Safeway has them frozen too)
2 hard-boiled eggs or 4 hard-boiled egg whites
1/2 an onion
4 tablespoons Schmaltz

Let me stop right here to say that I don't keep schmaltz on hand (it's rendered chicken fat). So when I knew I was going to make this, I made a batch of my Engagement Chicken, then just poured the juices out into a ball jar (my favorite for packing school lunches) and popped it in the fridge.

how to render chicken fat yourself into schmaltz

Start by sautéing the onion in 2 tablespoons of schmaltz.

Sauteing onions in schmaltz

Once the onion is soft and translucent, pour the whole thing into your food processor.

Next, sauté the chicken livers (defrosted in the fridge if needed) in the remaining schmaltz for about 10 minutes until cooked through.

Cooking chicken livers to make your own chopped liver

Add that to the food processor, with the eggs, onion, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Making chopped liver at home

Whir it around a bit and you are done.

I like to leave a little bit of texture in mine, otherwise it's like eating chicken liver baby food which is the most disgusting thing I've ever typed or even thought of:)

No "after" pic, since it was devoured before I even had a chance:)

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why Keep Blogging?

I've been asking myself this question ever since my whole family got sick in January and it took us 5 weeks to fully recover (we were sick in sequence, so it took forever)!

I started this blog last year as a way to document my family life, what I was doing with the kids, decorating our then-new home, and as a way to connect with relatives and friends who aren't close by.I had a newborn, which meant a *ton* of time on the couch nursing, like 8-12 hours a day of that, which gave me plenty of time to blog and visit and comment.

Over a year later, I discovered that blogging is a whole new world. It even has a name, the blogosphere. I've made blog-friends who I now reference in conversation with my husband, having to explain to him, that in many ways, blog-friends are more "real" than facebook-friends. I might have known a facebook-friend at one point in my life in person, but I know my blog-friends *now*. I'm even going to a blog conference, Haven, in August to have fun and meet them in person!

At first I was addicted to watching my numbers. How many people visited each day, how many new followers I got, how many comments, how many features... Then it started to turn into work. And not fun, I'm going to music class and being a mommy work, but I'm-obligated-to-visit-and-comment work. Yuck, not what I thought it was going to be.

Plus, our house is now not-so-new, and it's 95% done. A few minor tweaks here and there, a new poster, apparently constant dining room rug swapping, my attempts to style things, but pretty much done.

I'm still cooking 3 meals a day so this could easily turn into a cooking blog (which you might have noticed it's emphasized these last few weeks). I think I'll just continue to use it to record the NEW recipes I make, and celebrations we have (although this year it's a fireman birthday party not the construction machine birthday party, that is the focus of my attention). I used to keep a food journal where I wrote down what we served our friends at various dinner parties so that I wouldn't repeat the same meal over again. The blog can take over that Type-A part of me.

I still love sharing photos of my kids, and remembering what they are doing at this exact moment, because  so quickly, these moments are gone. We are already past my 5 year old's first day of kindergarten, and I'm so glad I had a chance to write about it here.

In short, I'm going to keep blogging for ME. Not for readers, for blog-friends, for numbers or stats, or even for family. Just for me.

Keep reading and we can all see where I take this. I think it might have moments of more parenting, cooking, and even a few design projects in the future, but I'm going to stop spray painting things just so I can link up to a link party:)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on blogging. Mommy-blogs, blog-reading, DIY blogs, pretty much anything and everything!

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Why My New House Rocks! #StartFreshBuyNew #CGC

As most of you know, we built our house from scratch, which means that everything inside is new.

I can't even begin to tell you how much *less* work this is for us.

-All of the appliances actually work!

-There are no leaks!

-I can set a temperature on the thermostat and the house will actually be that temperature!
This one is totally life changing for us, since w had lived with some variation of space heaters and fans for years, and were never totally sure that the babies were comfortable or frozen or sweating...Now, I know that it will never be less than 68 at night and no more than 74, so cotton footie pajamas with no blanket are just right in the crib.

-I can control the temperature of the water in the shower and tub!
Also life changing. Previously we had a little ring that floated in the tub and was suposed to change colors to let us know that the water temperature was safe for babies. Well, it was never right, so I'd often bail cold water in from the bathroom sink to adjust, which was just a crazy-pants way to live:)

-The house is SO energy efficient!
Even with a larger home (maybe 4 times larger than our last one) our gas bill (read: heat) is about the same.
  • The walls and floors and ceilings are super insulated. We even insulated the garage!
  • We have reflective plywood sheeting under the roof to deflect the sun's rays. 
  • All of the (new!) windows are double-paned and low-e, which means super efficient.
  • We installed UV-blocking sun shades inside to block out even more sun in the afternoon.

UV shades in a kitchen to help block out sun

If you are looking for more information on new homes (you don't have to build it yourself like we did!), head over to BHI’s Start Fresh Buy New website.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Pin It

Friday, April 12, 2013

The secret to fluffy matzoh balls

Ok, now that Passover is over, I can share my secret (really my mother in law's secret) to fluffy matzoh balls in your soup.

The secret to fluffy matzoh balls, perfect for passover seders!


Are you sure?

Because this is seriously life changing. You will never have hard-as-a-puck matzoh balls again.

OK, here goes.

After you make the batter, and chill it in the fridge.... Wait, you knew to chill it, right?

Chill it for 15 minutes to overnight.

OK, so once it's chilled and you drop the balls into water...... Yes, water, don't cook them in the broth, or they will soak up everything!

So, after they have cooked, about 10 minutes, you take them out and COOL THEM OFF IN A MUFFIN PAN.

The secret to fluffy matzoh balls, cooling them off in a muffin pan!

Genius, right?

I have no idea why this works. Maybe it's the cooling off individually, maybe the muffin pan creates perfect matzoh ball resting spots, who knows? But after lengthy experimentation, this is guaranteed to give you fluffy matzoh balls.

If you want to eat right away, just pop them into the soup/broth. If not, you can freeze them. Just lay them out on wax paper on a baking sheet, freeze, then transfer them to ziploc baggies once frozen.

Oh, and here we are (minus the baby), just before our first night seder:)

Any other secrets that work for your family?

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Managing Expectations around Baby Milestones

Each time I get to this point, and with each kid I always start to freak out. She isn't walking yet? What can be wrong? Why doesn't he annunciate his "l"s and "r"s better? Why isn't she going on sleepovers like the other kids?

OK, the last two are my current issues with the 3 and 5 year olds, but I'm sure, if you are a parent, you know what I'm talking about.

That insidious fear that your baby isn't following some magical baby checklist and skipping straight down the path to toddlerhood.

Because there is no straight path. It's long and winding, and even does some loop-de-loops, which is very impressive for the first two years of life:)

Unless there are actual issues, when a baby starts to talk, or walk, or wave, or do cartwheels, have no bearing on the person they will be when they grow up. Not only no bearing on how smart they will be, but certainly no bearing on if they will be a kind person, generous to others, loving, motivated, confident, the whole host of qualities that we want for our children.

So right now I'm going to sit back and enjoy what my 17 month old CAN do, and relish the fact that as annoying as it is that she can't walk yet, that also means that she can't efficiently move toys from one room to another yet either:)


She can crawl, cruise, climb up and down stairs, walk while holding one or two hands, stand for 10 seconds, take 2-7 steps on her own.

(Sidenote- my older two started walking at 16 months and 15 months, so I'm sure #3 is just taking her time too)

She can also climb up onto our play table:)


Up, down, go, woof-woof, roar (lion sound), big sister"s name, big brother's name, mama, papa, abba, baba, ema, apple, pacha (milk), banana, agua, pop, wow


She can point to objects on a page when asked (various foods, animals, body parts)

Points to her own body parts when asked.

Snuggles a lot.

Gives open-mouthes "kisses"

Still naps twice a day, at 8am and noon for about 1-2 hours each.

Sleeps through the night from 6pm-6am.

Eats almost everything put in front of her.

Scribbles with crayons and tries to imitate her older siblings.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with my favorite third baby, think I'll keep her:)

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Poached Pears

As spring comes, I always get the desire to start eating healthier foods, and try to shed some of those winter pounds that inevitably creep on when sweaters and fires and s'mores and cider and baking are part of my day to day life.

Last week we had my parents over to dinner and I decided to bring back an old favorite, poached pears. I thought the lack of baked good or ice cream might make my kids refuse to accept this as a dessert, but they loved it so much they asked for it again as "breakfast dessert" the next morning!

wine poached pears

Start by creating your poaching liquid. In my case I used:

1 cup dessert wine (you can use Sake, apple juice, pretty much anything sweet-ish)
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Let these come to a gentle boil in a pot on the stove.

how to make a poaching liquid for fruit

Meanwhile, I took 4 red pears (you just want them to be pretty firm so they don't fall apart), peeled them, halved them, then scooped out the seeds. You can also leave them peeled and whole, I love how the stems look once you are done.

peeling, halving and coring pears for poaching

Place pears in poaching liquid and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.

I served it straight from there, but if you want, take out the pears, and continue to simmer the liquid until it reduces down to a syrup to pour over top.

poaching pears for a springtime dessert

Any other spring desserts I should think about?


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Monday, April 1, 2013


Since Google Reader is going away, I thought I might try out Bloglovin. Especially if my efficient blog reading method, the next button, is going away.

Anyone have a good idea for blog following?
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